Chetna and I met through my sister-in-law. She was looking to start her own scarf business and wanted to ask my opinion on related matters given my background in retail and digital. Through the process of exchanging notes, I had the pleasure of getting to know her as a friend. I’ve come to admire her creativity, drive, passion, and intelligence. She is an Emergency Medicine doctor, mother to three great kids, artist, and entrepreneur (check out her custom silk-printed scarves here). I don’t know of anything she can’t accomplish. Here’s a closer look into her day-to-day:
- What is your daily routine?
It varies with my work schedule, but usually I’m up around 7 and send the kids off to school, take the dogs out etc. I would like to say that I work out but it’s sporadic (wish it wasn’t!). I try to get most of the cooking done during the day, and in the time left before the kids come home, I can sometimes squeeze in some shopping/lunch or just hang at home and paint. Once the kids are home it’s usually a flurry of activities and driving and we get back home in time for dinner and homework. Of course, all this changes if I’m working in the ER… then I’m there for the day!
I am a late owl and am usually up past midnight, working or watching TV with my husband.
- What is your typical breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
Coffee before anything else! Breakfast is usually cereal/ shake followed by a light lunch. Dinner is typically heavier and we eat a variety of different meals. I love to cook and experiment with different cuisines but Indian is still my favorite. A special dish would be chicken pot pie. The kids always wait to see what I carve on it!
Thanksgiving table set-up
- What is everyday style? Any favorite brands/designers?
I love my denims for everyday wear and I have a few pairs that I have worn to death. I usually wear them with tees or a collared shirt. Some of my favorite everyday brands are Anthropologie, Zara and J.Crew.
- Do you have a makeup ritual? What products do you like to use every day? What is your go-to for a special occasion?
I always use a cleanser and a serum and moisturizer for my face (Re9 by Arbonne). I usually do not wear makeup unless I am going “out”. My everyday perfume is “Chance” and for special occasions I love a good eyeliner and my Rouge Coco lipstick by Chanel.
- You are both a doctor and an artist/designer. Walk me through you career path. What motivated you to pursue both?
I was torn between medicine and art but I am lucky that being an Emergency Medicine physician allowed me to continue with my artwork. Art took a backseat during college and residency years but I always found time for it even if it was doodling or sketching.
As our kids grew older, I had some free time to start painting again. I always wanted to merge fashion with my art and two years ago I launched a small, eponymous business with my art scarves, digitally printing my artwork on silk.
I love what I do and usually paint at home. Work is in the Emergency Room and I do enjoy that too. In the future I will continue in both fields but am thinking of expanding my business.
Scarves on display
- Any advice for aspiring new business owners?
Don’t give up! Believe in your values and yourself and always be willing to learn.
- How long have you lived in New Jersey? Where did you live prior? What would be your ideal place to live once you and your husband, Arun are empty-nesters?
I have lived in New Jersey for over 20 years and grew up in India. I love where we live now but who knows. I would love to stay in Paris and/or New York for a while but mostly, we would love to travel everywhere and have a base at our present home.
With her parents, as a child in India
- How do you and Arun balance work and life with three kids? How often do you and Arun have a chance to go on a date night? Any special tips?
Hah… that’s tough! It was very rough in the beginning but we had a lot of help from the family, specially my mother-in-law. After residency, I cut my working hours and because of our shift work, one of us is usually home with the kids.
Arun and I do manage date nights and our schedules allow us to have some weekday lunch dates even if we don’t go out for a dinner. I think it’s really important to make time for yourself and reconnect.
Chetna and her husband, Arun
- Being a parent of three, you are a seasoned veteran. Do you have a particular parenting style? Any advice for new/young parents?
Sorry, there is no particular parenting style. It really depends on the person and you have to find what works for you as you go along. We love our kids and hope they have some good and fun memories to hold on to. But I know that I am a mother before a friend, and kudos to moms who are their kids best friends!
We are strict in certain areas but the kids know where they can get away with things (they figure this out pretty quickly!). There are highs and lows of parenthood and in the end, you will always wonder if you could have done things better. I don’t know if I am qualified to give advice but follow your instincts and give them love and good values.
Family vacation in Rome
Chetna with her mom and eldest daughter, Nandini, who is beginning her freshman year of college this year
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time (do you even have any?)?
Spare time? Sure… I have plenty of that! Ha! I do try to paint and yes, I love to cook and read and travel, drink good wine, and I could go on but the list will never end!
Inspiring words found on her Instagram